Google Nexus 6: early look


Every year, Google releases a new family of its Nexus devices to showcase the latest developments in Android, and also to give manufacturers a rough idea of what it imagines a flagship device should look like. In the past couple of years, Google has also released the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 with a very lucrative price tag, half that of rival flagship phones. With the Nexus 6, however, Google seems to go back to try and work with  arriers - pricing is back at the traditional $199 on-contract/$649 off-contract (in contrast with $349 off-contract for the Nexus 5).

This price, however, does buy you cutting-edge hardware: the Nexus 6 comes with a 6” display with an impressive Quad HD (1440 x 2560-pixel) resolution, the latest Snapdragon 805 system chip, 32GB of internal storage in the basic version, as well as an improved, 13-megapixel camera. We have the Nexus 6 in our hands and while we cannot give you the full review just yet, here is an early look to sum up our initial impressions.

Design and size


The Nexus 6 comes with a large size and that might sound like a setback for some people - just hearing about a 6” screen smartphone is a bit of a shock, but it’s important to remember that not all 6-inch devices are created equal. In fact, in terms of pure dimensions, the Nexus 6 is very comparable with Apple’s 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. In-hand feel is nice due to the curved back, and it actually nestles in the hand rather nicely, and is not as clumsy to operate as some might expect. Still, this is one big phone and if you're coming from a 5-inch-ish device, you'd feel a huge difference in handling due to the larger size.

The Nexus 6 is a step up in terms of design and materials as well - instead of the rubberized plastic back of the Nexus 5, we have a sturdy metal frame and a matte plastic back with that likably dimple (slightly less recessed than on earlier Moto phones) with the Motorola logo on the back. The design, however, is not exactly original - the new Nexus is basically a stretched out Moto X (2014 edition) - the looks and materials used are pretty much the same. Unlike the Moto X, though, the Nexus 6 has real stereo speakers: they do sound sufficiently loud, and while they are not really on the level of the class-leading clarity and depth of the BoomSound speakers of the One (M8), they seem like a decent performer.

Also, the Nexus 6 comes with support for wireless charging, which is nice.

Display


You’ll see some say the Nexus 6 has a 6-inch display (like we have so far), while others claim it’s a 5.9-inch one. The exact size of the screen diagonal is 5.96 inches, so 6” is a better approximation. It’s an AMOLED panel with a resolution of the impressive 1440 x 2560 pixels, and a very high pixel density of 493ppi. This translates into everything looking pleasingly sharp, with no visible pixelization, and luckily, at this resolution, we can’t really see much of AMOLED (and Pentile matrices) checkerboard artifacts.

How good of a display is this? We’ll be measuring it in more depth to give you a conclusive overview in the near future, but at first sight, the display does look a bit too punchy in a typical AMOLED fashion: oversaturated, but not all that accurate. Brightness does seem to be sufficient for comfortable outdoor viewing, and also, the screen brightness can be reduced to very low levels, which is great for the times you use your phone at night.

Interface: sweet Lollipop


Android 5.0 Lollipop is in many ways one of the largest updates to have ever happened to Google’s mobile operating system. We’ve been exploring its every detail in a lot of depth recently, but in a nutshell let’s say that it does feel like a big step forward in visual style with the new material design language that brings a lot more color to Android, livening it up. The snappy animations, little improvements like quick access to flashlight from the notification tab, and most importantly, the fully redesigned stock apps, all contribute to the refreshing feel of Lollipop on the Nexus 6.

There is one new and useful feature that is worth a separate mention: it’s called Ambient Display, and it basically wakes up the phone’s display when you pick up the device or when you have new notifications.

Processor and Memory


We already know that the Nexus 6 comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805 system chip. It features a quad-core Krait 450 CPU with clock speeds of up to 2.7GHz, Adreno 420 graphics, as well as 3GB of RAM, which is as powerful as devices get on Android currently. Our initial impressions are for this being a super snappy device - it's running fast and smooth in daily operations. We’re yet to run all the benchmarks to give you a better overview of the performance power of the Nexus 6, so stay tuned.

Just like previous Nexus devices, the Nexus 6 lacks expandable memory via microSD card slot, but in order to avoid huge storage problems, Google has the basic version starting at the generous 32GB, rather than 16GB. Plus, you have an additional option of a 64GB Nexus 6 for $50 more for those who need the extra space.

Camera


The Nexus 5 arrived with a promise to be a step up in camera performance, as prior to it Nexus smartphones had lackluster cameras. The Nexus 6 builds up on that base and comes with a 13-megapixel camera that features optical image stabilization and a fast, f/2.0 lens. Physically, the camera looks a lot like the one on the Moto X (2014 edition) with a ring around it, housing two LED lights serving as flash.

Such a wide-aperture lens and OIS are a good starting point for improvements in low-light imagery. On the video side of things, we have support for 4K recording at 30 frames per second, and that’s a nice extra. We’re looking forward to telling you more about the camera with samples and more detailed analysis coming soon.

Expectations


Hearing about a gigantic, 6-inch smartphone by Google might have scared more conservative buyers, but the Nexus 6 surprised us with its fairly compact dimensions for the screen size and the fact that is about as large as an iPhone 6 Plus. It’s a phablet, it’s large, but it’s not impossibly large.

With a renewed focus on sales with carriers, we do expect the Nexus 6 to reach more people, and that’s a good thing as the new stock Android 5.0 Lollipop experience is good-looking and runs impressively smoothly on the powerful Nexus 6 hardware.

Related phones

Nexus 6
  • Display 6.0" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 805, Quad-core, 2700 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3220 mAh(24h talk time)

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45 Comments

1. hmd74

Posts: 540; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

Be together, not the same =)

14. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

lol Those commercials are pretty cool. I like the angle Google is taking with Android. So far the early impressions of the stereo speakers & the 13MP OIS camera are very, very encouraging. +1

40. Vcarvega

Posts: 5; Member since: Dec 20, 2011

After having a day to play around with my Nexus 9, I'm SERIOUSLY considering selling my Note 4 for a Nexus 6. Lollipop is awesome! Plus, this was my first Samsung phone... I do like it a lot, but after two weeks; what I've found is that I don't really care to use most of the "extra" stuff that comes with Touchwiz. I was looking forward to the s pen and multi window, but rarely use either. Is still am awesome phone though.

44. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I thought the same about the S-Pen when I got my Galaxy Note 3, but I actually used it a lot more than I ever thought I would. The photo editing was bananas on the Note 3. I am going to miss the S-Pen, that's for sure, but the Google Nexus 6 is going to be so worth it, cause I can FINALLY get back to the root scene. I can't imagine what developers will do to Android 5.0 Lollipop. +1

2. digitalfiz

Posts: 8; Member since: Apr 16, 2013

Would have been an early look a week or so ago :P Now its just a look...

13. Elusivellama

Posts: 73; Member since: Aug 26, 2014

This is the way PhoneArena works, 10 articles for everything when 1 or 2 would do.

37. baldilocks

Posts: 1540; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

You know they aren't allowed to do full reviews yet because of an embargo. So, calm down.

3. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

I can't wait to get my hand(s) on this phone

4. Lauticol

Posts: 404; Member since: Jun 25, 2011

I still think the Droid Turbo is better than this, and has a more comfortable size

16. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Nope you are wrong. Maybe the Droid Turbo is better for "You", but it's much too small for me. I NEED a 5.96" Google Nexus 6. The Droid Turbo would be uncomfortable to use like my wife's Samsung Galaxy S5. I prefer the phablet any day of the week.

22. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

He's not wrong at all, he was expressing his opinion. What, do you think someone has to expressly post "THIS IS MY OPINION, BUT..." before everything they say, or else they automatically mean they're making some sweeping, objective declaration? When I read his comment, I instantly assumed that he meant it was better for himself. That being said, IN MY OPINION, I prefer the size of the Droid Turbo as well, and wish Google had released two phones in different sizes. Again, that's JUST MY OPINION.

23. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Yes & no. When he said "I think" you are right, but this is where I disagree with him... "...and has a more comfortable size" Now he is telling me what is more comfortable. That is clearly imposing himself on what we should all think. That's why I said what I said. How does he know it's more comfortable to say me?

27. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

I still don't follow why you think he's trying to tell you what is better. The second part follows from the first, and I still read it as his own opinion. His statement could just as easily be read thusly: "I still think the Droid Turbo is better than this. I still think the Droid Turbo has a more comfortable size."

33. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Ok. I can give you that. I still think it can go both ways. I happen to like your statement much better than his original. +1

29. Baimeizhong

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 04, 2014

I like the Droid turbo too, but f*ck Verizon. If it were sold unlocked then I would consider it a serious competitor to the nexus 6. What am I supposed to do with the fastest Android to date and 2 gigabytes for the month?

5. h27_Venom

Posts: 76; Member since: May 16, 2014

Everything is good except screen size.,and SoC 5.2 - 5.5 inch would have been better and 64 bit SoC would have been a better choice ... that would have made phone quite future proof...!!!

6. TheMoltenD

Posts: 109; Member since: Jul 13, 2014

64bit vs 32bit has no noticeable benefit for consumers unless you have 4+GB of memory.

26. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

You couldn't be more wrong if you made a conscious effort to do so.

32. Mrmark

Posts: 400; Member since: Jan 26, 2013

This isn't the desktop computer days .... I think it works a little different now on the phones .

41. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

Tell that to the noticeable gains that devices get by going from ARM 7 to ARM 8. See 64 bits and IGNORE IT. THAT'S NOT WHY WE WANT "64 BIT".

7. Retro-touch unregistered

64 bit CPU's will be available early next year (Snapdragon 808/810), only good one available that's good is Tegra K1 (Mediatek is a middle range option) and it would heat up a phone like crazy so only logical choice is using the best CPU available. Use some common sense before blabbing about SoC choice. They're not in market yet

12. sgodsell

Posts: 7456; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

There available right now. Like some intel processors as well as the Snapdragon 410, and some mediatek processors are already available in some low end Android smartphones today. Just look at the latest Nexus 9 and the Nexus Player are 64bit.

20. jan25

Posts: 470; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

Mediatek and Snapdragon's offerings are midrange SOCs. Imagine the outrage if Google charged a $650 for phone running on midrange hardware. The K1 in the other hand is not suitable for phones just yet due to power consumption and heat.

15. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I disagree with you on SoC. 2015 is the YEAR for 64bit. The SnapDragon 805 is a worthy swan song for the 32bit era. This phone is EXTREMELY future proof. You need about 4 to 5 years for 64bit to truly be a knockout feature. Also 5.96" is perfect for me so please don't talk or say that 5.2" or 5.5" would be a "BETTER" choice, because you most certainly don't speak for me. The Google Nexus 6 is sold out at the 5.96" display size so if your theory was correct, then how do you explain why the Nexus 6 is out of stock?

21. SellPhones82

Posts: 569; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

Well you most certainly don't speak for everyone either. I find the N6 to be too big, as many others do. If it's a great size for you then get the phone. You just sound stupid for tell anyone without the same opinion as you "not to talk". I'll wait for the next gen processors to hit as I disagree with your 64bit comment. If the OS is being optimized for 64bit, then why will it take 4 to 5 years? The Nexus 9 takes advantage of it now and the thing kills it in benchmarks! More like 4 to 5 months. The 805 was also unveiled a year ago, just like how the 810 was just unveiled this year and will be the SoC of 2015, yet you're paying top dollar for a phone with "last year" CPU so I def wouldn't call if "extremely future proof". Extremely future proof would be project Ara, which is just another reason to see what Q1 and Q2 of 2015 hold. How many N6 did Google/Moto sell already? How many even offered in the initial launch? Was it 5k, 10k, 20k? We don't know so it could simply be out of stock due to low launch day inventory.

24. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Sorry, but when I say "Perfect for me" it kinda implies just me. I was not speaking for others at all. So your whole post is already broken & really doesn't make too much sense. You need 4+ GB of RAM for 64bit to really shine, until devices come with 4+ GB of RAM then it really doesn't make any difference. I say 4 to 5 years cause everything really needs to catch up to 64bit. Nothing is really taking advantage of it at this moment. It's the same when 64bit came out for the PC's. The difference between 32 & 64bit when it came out was marginal at best. It was only years later that you really see any true difference. So why won't it be the same in the mobile world?

30. SellPhones82

Posts: 569; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

Then why follow it up with "so please don't talk or say that 5.2" or 5.5" would be a "BETTER" choice"? That doesn't imply that your speaking for yourself. That implies that you don't want him to talk because you don't agree with him. Get it now? Maybe English isn't your first language or something if you don't understand that, or any other part of my comment, as it is pretty clear. In post 16 you tell someone they are wrong, again that in no way implies that you're speaking for yourself. I'm just going to leave this here as it's obvious you need to read up. I'm not even going to bother responding to your incorrect guesses. http://www.androidcentral.com/why-64-bit-processors-really-matter-android

34. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

You are talking about English yet you don't understand. His statement would have been fine if he said it would have been better for him. He said it would be better, as an overall statement, meaning 5.96" is wrong. That's why I said he is wrong because I don't fit that overall statement he is trying to generalize on everyone. "I" don't like when he says it would be better if it were 5.2 or 5.5 inches when "I" don't fall into his generalization he is trying to impose.

36. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

When I say things need to catch up I think I am right. There are all those apps that need to be made to work with 64bit. Once that happens then the 64bit era will be in full swing.

28. h27_Venom

Posts: 76; Member since: May 16, 2014

i was talking about screen size in general you are not the only person on face of the earth who uses a smartphone..there are people who prefer their phone to be compact and ergonomic motorala made two phones : nexus 6 and Droid Turbo (a.k.a moto maxx rumoured global version of droid turbo) everthing is pretty much (except camera,screen size and battery) the same but screen size is kept in check on droid turbo which is 5.2 so those who are disappointed with the screen size of nexus 6 will definetly go for droid turbo / maxx.. and besides it also features a mammoth 3900 vs 3220 mah battery.... and since nexus 6 do not have price advantage..this time around(atleast where i live) i see droid turbo as a better choice and this will also affect the sales of nexus 6 globally.

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